MOTORIST Keith Lake who knocked down and seriously injured Colchester tricyclist Jill Cole in a championship time trial won his appeal against a 12-month driving ban at Warwick Crown Court last week.

The ban was reduced to nine months.

The case against Lake, who was convicted of the lesser charge of careless driving at Warwickshire Magistrates Court in January, illustrates again the vagaries of English traffic law, which often takes no account of the consequences of the collision.

For in saying he did not see Cole before he hit her, and because he was otherwise judged to have been driving properly, only a careless driving charge was deemed appropriate. ? She is now paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.

Lake was fined £750 and appealed against the 12-month disqualification. The magistrate?s court rejected his appeal, but the Crown Court took a far more sympathetic view.

To the consternation of Ms Cole?s supporters who were in court to hear Lake win his appeal, the court voiced misgivings about a cyclist being on that particular road, even though the event she was taking part in had police permission.

The court considered a number of possible explanations as to why Lake had been unable to see Cole, said Adrian Hills, Cole?s partner. These included Lake looking the other way as he turned out of a roundabout, when Cole was a good 500 yards beyond that point at the time. Maybe the sun had been in his eyes, even though the police stated that the sun?s position was not a factor.

The court also heard; as did the Magistrates last month- that Lake?s dark green tinted sunglasses may have prevented him from seeing her bright yellow skinsuit and orange race number! That she had been camouflaged against a green background.

According to Hills, there was no green background, only a straight, slightly rising road.

He says he is left wondering at these factual inaccuracies, and why an already light sentence has been made lighter.